Project completion of General Inventory of Cultural Items at the El Brujo Archaeological Complex

October 18, 2022

  • 39,415 cultural items make up the collection housed at El Brujo, the product of more than 3 decades of archaeological investigations. Currently, a large part of the collections can be freely reviewed in the digital catalog.

After an intense process of reorganizing its collections and the establishment of the Protocols for Collection Management, toward the end of 2019 the El Brujo Archaeological Complex made it its goal to inventory all the non-structural cultural items that it housed. In order to do this, a digital collections management platform was designed, where specialists could document cultural items starting with excavation, inventory, catalogue, enter technical information about curational activities, generate micro-climatic reports, generate automatic labels, and perform other functions that systematize and facilitate the processes linked to collections.

However, starting in 2020, work was paralyzed due to the global pandemic, forcing the Wiese Foundation to develop new strategies for interaction with the public at El Brujo. This dark time for the country’s museums highlighted the great importance of protocols for management of emergencies regarding Cultural Heritage, as well as organization with minimum standards and the necessity of inventories and digital catalogues with free access for the public.

Therefore, in 2021, the inventory work was partially restarted, due to the need to attend to the processes of monitoring and conservation of the collections that were reorganized in previous years. In 2022, the inventory work began again in full, led by Rubén Buitrón, head of the laboratory at the El Brujo Archaeological Complex.

No. Line of evidence Quantity
1 Clay 772
2 Botanical 3295
3 Worked botanical 2840
4 Carbon 1100
5 Ceramics 7935
6 Basketry 487
7 Mummified body 3
8 Mummy bundle 142
9 Ichthyological 757
10 Lithic 699
11 Malacological 3251
12 Metal 1648
13 Mineral 180
14 Soil sample 50
15 Animal bone 3899
16 Human bone 1355
17 Paper 548
18 Animal remains 1616
19 Human remains 196
20 Textile 8461
21 Glass 181
Total  39,415

The collection housed at El Brujo consists of 39,415 cultural items, including ceramics, textiles, botanic materials, mummy bundles, and a dozen other lines of evidence, which include the mummy of the Lady of Cao and all the objects recovered from her funerary context. All these cultural items are the product of more than 3 decades of archaeological investigations at El Brujo. Currently, the collections can be freely viewed at

Thus concludes a fundamental stage for the preservation and management of the archaeological heritage under the custody of the Wiese Foundation, which established the foundations for the democratization of access to the collections at El Brujo, as well as the generation of new archaeological research projects for the benefit of society.

This ambitious project was completed on October 7. The Wiese Foundation thanks the excellent group of archaeologists and conservators that made this possible.

Augusto Bazán | Director of Investigations CAEB

Rubén Buitrón | Head of Laboratory CAEB

José Alva | Field Archaeologist CAEB

Merly Rosas | Laboratory Assistant CAEB

Professionals contracted for the project

Carlos Fuentes | Archaeologist

Yuriko García | Archaeologist

Eder Castro | Archaeologist

Katherine Albornoz | Archaeologist

Helen Chavarría | Archaeologist

Abigaíl Paulino | Conservator

Edson Palomino | Archaeologist

Elio Pérez | Archaeologist

Leslie Zúñiga | Conservator